Forecast Income and Manage your billing with FreshBooks Retainers

If you’re in a service provider or happen to deal with such people (such as consultants etc.) then surely you must have heard the term, retainer.

Simply speaking, it’s a fee that one pays to secure the service of the service provider.

Well, the good news is that the cloud accounting software, FreshBooks now allows its users to manage their billing and consequently, forecast their income with their new “Retainers” feature.

It’s a new feature doled out for FreshBooks customers on Premium or Plus plans.


Also Read: How to create and track expenses in FreshBooks?



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What is FreshBooks Retainers?

Retainers is a brand new feature introduced by FreshBooks to keep track of all the retainers that you may collect from your clients.

With FreshBooks Retainers you can send automated retainer online (or manual) invoices to your clients, keep track of the number of hours against the allotted time, streamline invoicing, forecast monthly income, avoid scope creep etc.

In short, the Retainers feature help you completely focus on providing quality services to your clients by taking care of the arduous task of invoicing.

FreshBooks Stalking Invoice Animated

Why Retainers? Why not FreshBooks Invoice?

We’ve already discussed how effective FreshBooks is when it comes to creating and tracking invoices. It allows you to send online invoices as well as manual ones.

So the question is that if FreshBooks can handle invoicing so efficiently and even provides the Recurring Invoice feature then why do we need the Retainers feature?

The answer would be to think of FreshBooks Retainers as an extension of the Invoicing feature.

Granted FreshBooks Invoices lets you keep track of what your customers owe you, however, the Retainers feature goes one step beyond.

The feature allows you to track time towards the Retainer. You may need to learn about the FreshBooks Time Tracking and Project Management feature to use it more effectively.

What this means is that it connects your time tracking, billing and reporting functions into one easy tool.

This ensures that your work hours are recorded and added in the retainer seamlessly. In case you utilize more hours than what’s been entered in the Retainer, FreshBooks will ensure to notify you about the extra time that you’ve put in.

You can then create an extra invoice to account for those hours.

However, if your hours are less than what’s been allocated on the Retainer, FreshBooks won’t carry forward the remaining hours in the next retainer. Instead, it will restart a new Retainer with the same hours.

Once we’ve figured out what FreshBooks Retainers do, let’s see how you can use this feature.

How to Create a Retainer in FreshBooks?

  1. From the main blue menu on your left, click the Retainers tab and select the green, New Retainers button
    How to create FreshBooks Retainers
  2. Fill out the relevant details and then click the green Set & Continue button at the bottom.
    Retainer Terms - Set & Continue

  3. FreshBooks will show you a sample Retainer Invoice that your client will receive each month. 
    Edit Retainer Invoice Settings
  4. While on the sample Retainer invoice, use the Settings menu on the right to make any further adjustments.

How to edit and track a retainer?

  1. Just like above, click the Retainers tab from your blue menu on the right.
  2. Select the Retainer you would like to edit from the list.
    Edit FreshBooks Retainers
  3. This is a collection of all your Retainer. You can edit, view your Invoices, Time Entries and get insights on the month’s progress.
    How to edit FreshBooks Retainers

How to access Retainers Report?

  1. From anywhere in your account, click the Retainers tab from your blue menu on the right.
  2. Select the Retainer you would like to access from the available list.
    Retainers Summary Reports - 1
  3. Select the Summary Report tab at the bottom and then click the Retainer Summary Report.
    Retainers Summary Reports - 2
  4. Click on the Report to view it.
    Retainers Summary Reports - 3
  5. Here is your Retainer Summary Report! You can send the report to your client or even download a copy of the report under More Actions.

Final Word

With FreshBooks Retainers, you can easily streamline your invoicing and stay on the top of your billing requirements. This, in turn, enables you to focus on actual problem-solving aspects of your consultancy instead of wasting time on chasing payments.

In case you haven’t yet subscribed for FreshBooks, you can start your Free trial here.

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